Color for Philosophers: Unweaving the Rainbow by C. L. Hardin

By C. L. Hardin

This e-book is presented the 1986 Johnsonian Prize in Philosophy. This accelerated version of C. L. Hardin's ground-breaking paintings on color incorporates a new bankruptcy, 'Further innovations: 1993', during which the writer revisits the dispute among color objectivists and subjectivists from the viewpoint of the ecology, genetics, and evolution of color imaginative and prescient, and brings to undergo new information on person variability in color belief.

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Additional resources for Color for Philosophers: Unweaving the Rainbow

Sample text

As the figure shows, rods and cones are connected with one another and with higher-level cells by means of horizontal, bipolar, and amacrine cells. The latter three types of cells can either enhance or inhibit the re­ sponse of the cells to which they are connected-a fact of the greatest importance for vision in general and for color vision in particular. At the far end of the retina's information-processing chain are the gan­ glion cells, whose output is sent up the optic nerve to the brain. The net result of these complicated interconnections is that, first, a recep­ tor's output can alter the effects of the outputs of its neighboring re­ ceptors; second, every receptor is connected to several ganglion cells; and, third, every ganglion cell is connected to several receptors.

So here redness, greenness, and yellowness are all zero . What the subject sees is a blue without any other chromatic component-a uni q ue blue, as it is called in the trade. Unique blue is an instance of the phenomenally simple hues to which Hering called attention. The next axis crossing is at 500 nm, where the yellow-blue system is in neutral balance, but the red-green system is in a negative state. This is the locus of the 37 COLOR PERCEPTION AND SCIENCE subject's unique green. At 577 nm, the red-green system is in balance once more, and the yellow-blue system is in a positive state.

It cannot serve to differentiate wavelength changes from intensity changes, since any wavelength difference (be­ tween 500 nm and 550 nm, say) that would make itself known by a difference in the strength of the receptor's output could be simulated for the organism in question by a difference in intensity in the ab­ sence of a wavelength difference . Compare this with the situation depicted in (B), in which there are two receptor types with photopig­ ments of different absorbances whose outputs are simply summed.

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